Afghan official: 30 civilians die during battle with Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) An Afghan official says that at least 30 civilians have been killed, along with 16 Taliban fighters, as government forces battled the insurgents in Helmand province overnight.

Attahullah Afghan, who heads the provincial council, says most of the casualties - including men, women and children - incurred in an airstrike that hit a house on Tuesday night during military operations there.

A statement from governor's office in Helmand confirmed that 16 Taliban insurgents were killed and said an investigation was underway to determine civilian casualties.

It says the militants had stockpiled ammunition in the area of the operation, which could have caused civilian casualties. There was also a car packed with explosives that ignited during the strike.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed all the victims were civilians.